We Are Scout - Hunting. Gathering. Making. The Good Stuff

HUNTING. GATHERING. MAKING.
THE GOOD STUFF.

Archive: Dec 2007

  1. Last minute Christmas treats

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    If you haven't started already, now is the time to start digging into all the seasonal goodies. There's nothing cosier than watching all those ultra-cheesey Christmas specials on TV by candlelight, whilst feasting on some warm Christmas pud. Here, my favourite sweet treats in London:

    Ultimate Christmas pudding, £32.95, from Harrods. Packaged in a black ceramic basin and matured for six months.

    Brandy butter, £3.95, from Harrods.

    Meg Rivers Christmas Cake and tin, £38, from Cath Kidston. £5 of the proceeds from every sale of this award-winning cake goes to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

    Hope and Greenwood suitcase, from £24.95, from The Conran Shop. Each suitcase is filled with a selection of nostalgic English sweets.

    And I'll be heading to Konditor & Cook this weekend to pick up some of their infamous handmade mince pies. Apparently Nigella fancies them very muchly. Merry yum yum!

    Stockists:

    The Conran Shop
    www.conranshop.co.uk
    The Conran Shop Chelsea
    Michelin House
    81 Fulham Road
    London SW3
    Tel 020 7589 7401

    The Conran Shop Marylebone
    55 Marylebone High Street
    London W1
    Tel 020 7723 2223

    Harrods
    www.harrods.com
    87-135 Brompton Road
    Knightsbridge, London SW1

    Cath Kidston
    www.cathkidston.co.uk
    Click here for store locations.

    Konditor & Cook
    www.konditorandcook.com
    Waterloo:
    22 Cornwall Road
    London SE1

    London Bridge:
    10 Stoney Street
    London SE1

    Chancery Lane:
    46 Grays Inn Road
    London WC1

    Curzon Soho Cafe:
    99 Shaftesbury Ave
    London W1

    The Gherkin
    30 St Mary Axe
    London EC3

  2. The best crackers in London

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    OK, so I could start this post with a dodgy pun on crackers, but I’ll try to restrain myself. Instead, just check out the best crackers for 2007.

    Holly/Ric Rac Christmas Crackers, £10 for a set of six, from Cath Kidston.

    Christmas Tree Crackers, Blue and White, reduced to £10 for a set of 12, from John Lewis. Each cracker contains a gift, motto and hat. The gifts include a shoe horn, compact mirror, playing cards, screwdrivers, address book, tape measure, pad lock, bottle opener, tweezers, travel chess, photo frame and pen.

    Fiesta Christmas crackers, £45 for a box of six, from The Conran Shop. Each cracker contains a hat, joke and a gift.

    Nine mini crackers, £5, from Paperchase.

    Eight premium crackers, £13, from Woolworths.

    Sergeant Major and Sugar Plum Fairy Crackers, £40 for a box of six, from Fortnum & Mason. Each cracker contains a wooden toy or instrument.

    For an eco-friendly bang…

    Ethical Christmas crackers, £25, from Made. Crackers are handmade in Africa using back issues of Grazia and other recycled materials. Each cracker contains a gift made from recycled items, as well as a Grazia party hat and teaser.

    Berry Eco Christmas Cracker, £4.50 each or six for £25, from Biome Lifestyle. The wrapping around the cracker is handmade from seed paper, so you can plant the paper after Christmas and grow some pretty wild flowers. Each cracker is filled with an eco-tip and a small gift like a charitable donation or a fair trade keyring.

    And don’t forget your dog…

    Polka Pet Crackers, £15 for one, from Fortnum & Mason. Contains a diamante pet collar charm.

    If money is no issue …

    Traditional Christmas crackers, £499 for six, from Harrods, 2nd floor Christmas World. The crackers are hand-crafted and contain silver gifts.

    Ballroom flock Christmas crackers, £299 for six, from Harrods, 2nd floor Christmas World. Each cracker is hand-crafted and contains a silver gift.

    Or, have a go at making your own…

    Check out this post at Meet Me at Mikes, which includes some links to some fab online tutorials. Also, check out Paperchase for their nifty DIY cracker kits, complete with snaps and paper.

    And go out with the biggest bang of all…

    Exploding chocolate bomb £85, from The Conran Shop. The bomb is filled with enough cho
    colates and gadgets for 15 people.

    Stockists:

    The Conran Shop
    www.conranshop.co.uk
    The Conran Shop Chelsea
    Michelin House
    81 Fulham road
    London SW3 6RD
    Tel 020 7589 7401

    The Conran Shop Marylebone
    55 Marylebone High Street
    London W1U 5HS
    Tel 020 7723 2223

    Paperchase
    www.paperchase.co.uk
    Click here for store locations.

    Harrods
    www.harrods.com
    87-135 Brompton Road
    Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

    Fortnum & Mason
    www.fortnumandmason.com
    181 Piccadilly
    London W1

    Biome Lifestyle (online only)
    www.biomelifestyle.com

    Woolworths
    www.woolworths.co.uk
    Click here for store locations.

    John Lewis
    www.johnlewis.com
    Click here for store locations.

    Cath Kidston
    www.cathkidston.co.uk
    Click here for store locations.

    Made (online only)
    www.made.uk.com

  3. London shopping: traditional Christmas decorations

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    If you love traditional European folk art decorations, make a beeline to East London right now.

    Head to Shelf on Cheshire Street for their endearing range of hand-carved Christmas decorations from the Erzgebirg region in Germany. These traditional wooden folk art decorations, otherwise known as Erzgebirgische Volkskunst, are highly collectable and come in a variety of scenes and figures. I love the wooden spinners, which are generated by lit candles, as well as the ornately carved trees and the tiny wooden figurines. Best to get in now because Shelf has reduced the price on these decorations by 40 per cent.







    Shelf
    40 Cheshire Street
    London E2 6EH
    Tel: 020 7739 9444

    Opening hours:
    Friday afternoon by appointment only
    Saturday 1pm-6pm
    Sunday 11am-6pm
    Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

    Nearby on Shoreditch High Street, you can pick up some adorable traditional Swedish decorations from art supply store Cowling & Wilcox, starting at 75p for a mini red horse. The store’s owners have Swedish roots, and the handmade decorations are all based on traditional folklore.

    The decorations are also available in their Soho and South London stores. If your tree is already full (although, there’s always room for one more, yes?), tie on a wee Swedish star or angel to your Christmas parcels. Brown wrapping paper with red ribbon would look ace.

    Traditional Swedish Christmas decoration, £2.25, from Cowling & Wilcox.

    Cowling & Wilcox
    West London:
    26-28 Broadwick Street
    Soho, London W1F 8HX
    Tel: 020 7734 9556
    Opening hours:
    Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm
    Saturday 10am-6pm

    South London:
    8-12 Orpheus Street
    Camberwell, London SE5 8RR
    Opening times:
    Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm
    Saturday 10am-6pm
    Sunday 12pm-5pm

    East London:
    112 Shoreditch High Street
    Shoreditch London E1 6JN
    Tel: 020 7033 3685
    Opening times:
    Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm
    Sunday 12pm-5pm

    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

  4. Cripes it’s cold. Where’s me cashmere?

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    Have you noticed that there’s a buzz about cashmere this season? (Apologies to Southern Hemisphere readers who are currently sweltering in the heat and this topic is about as welcome as a festering heat rash.)


    Cashmere is one of the softest, and most luxurious wools around, and it comes from the underbelly of goats in Mongolia, China and Tibet (impress your co-workers with that fun fact for the day, folks).


    Traditionally regarded as an exclusive luxury item and an investment purchase, this Autumn/Winter sees cashmere moving into the High Street, where London retailers ranging from Primark to Pringle are giving punters the chance to grab a piece for themselves.

    But is the cheaper stuff actually much chop? Generally speaking, you really do get what you pay for, but there are still quality everyday cashmere options around for quite reasonable prices.

    Just don’t be misled by a label that states 100% cashmere, as it comes in different grades and is made using varying levels of refinement. Good quality cashmere shouldn’t feel scratchy or prickly, and the higher quality pieces are less likely to pill.

    A cashmere addition to your wardrobe will be a treasured piece for many years to come, especially if you look after it. It also travels particularly well, and is perfect for achieving that “effortless chic” look.

    So I was especially interested to hear that French luxury cashmere brand, Eric Bompard, has recently launched its British online store at www.eric-bompard.com. And it's fair to say that I was excited at the prospect of having a closer look at the brand when I was approached to review it as part of a new viral marketing initiative through London fashion/style blogs. Good idea, non?

    I scored a matching Bompard hat and gloves set, in a particularly fetching shade of turquoise. C’est magnifique! The cashmere was soft and luxurious, and even survived a Christmas shopping expedition to Oxford Street on Saturday. Mad, moi? Despite being pushed and shoved in the mosh pit of festive shoppers, I felt smug snug and cosy in my new hat and gloves.

    I’m also enamoured by Bompard’s current Autumn/Winter “So cashmere, so French” collection, accompanied by a gorgeous Nordic-style snowy shoot. Here are my fave looks:






    Cute, huh? These pieces are equally lovely for lounging and escaping outdoors, and I really love the tartan cashmere scarf, which is bang on trend. The website is currently offering 20% off scarves, stoles and hats until 24 December, with all orders shipped to the UK at no cost. Very handy for last-minute presents (oh, you didn't?). They also ship worldwide – just check online for details.


    Caring for your cashmere
    Eric Bompard recommends you machine wash using the wool cycle, as it will help the garment maintain its shape. But always check the care label first. Alternatively, send it to the dry cleaners, or hand-wash it with a wool detergent, or a cashmere shampoo, like Brora's. Dry your cashmere by carefully rolling it in a clean, dry towel, and then arrange into shape to dry on a flat surface.

  5. Wreath-ink it

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    The ancient Celts took a fancy to holly for its magical protective powers, whilst the pagans worshipped the evergreen during winter solstice celebrations. Fast forward 2000 years and what’s your spin on the Christmas wreath going to be? Take your pick from this lot:

    Signature orange wreath featuring magic roses, hydrangea, poppy heads, hypericum berries and ivy, from £60, from The Original Wreath.

    Forever Green wreath featuring holly, hypericum berries, eryngium, rosemary, pittosporum, blue spruce and eucalyptus, from £45, from The Original Wreath.

    Traditional fresh Christmas wreath featuring ivy, dogwood, apples, chillies and cranberries, by Snapdragon, £32, from Not On the High Street.

    Beaded wreath, £3 for three, from Woolworths.

    Pop-up wreath decoration, US$29.95, from MoMA.

    Crystal and berry wreath, £31.49 for two, from VVRouleaux.

    Traditional wreath, £7, from Woolworths.

    Sequinned Christmas wreath, £29.95, from The Conran Shop. Tel. 020 7589 7401

    Driftwood Christmas wreath by Devon Driftwood Designs, £185, from Not on the High Street.

    Recycled wreath, £25, from Biome Lifestyle. The wreath is made from recycled materials by a small co-operative in Africa.